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No Place Like HomeRTÉ One, Friday, 7.30pm

Finland

Tiina Suvanato

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In this week's episode of No Place Like Home Bob Kelly travels to the arctic wilderness of Lapland in northern Finland in order to trace the roots of another recently arrived immigrant to Ireland.

Tiina Suvanato is a 28 year old Finn who has taken advantage of the Celtic Tiger to establish a Dublin enterprise selling commercial property in Helsinki to Irish investors.

Bob heads for the tiny outpost of Ivalo, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle where he meets with Tiina's family and learns more about the bleak realities of surviving the Winter at the top of the world.

In temperatures approaching -25 celsius, Bob rides a husky sled to meet with Tiina's uncle Markku, who teaches him the art of lake fishing through an ice hole. The allure of Aurora Borealis involves Bob enduring night-time vigils staring at the sky before he takes his life into his own hands at the annual Reindeer Round-Up.

After a few days, Bob then heads south to the former capital Turku where he delivers a video postcard to Tiina's parents, before re-enacting her warm childhood memories of visits to their 'Summer Cottage'.

Area:

338,000 sq km

Population:

5.2 million

Language(s):

Finnish (official), Swedish (official), small Lapp- and Russian-speaking minorities.

Geography:

Finland is the fifth largest country in Europe and is also one of the most northerly countries in the world.

Finland has land frontiers with Russia, Norway and Sweden, and a coastline of approximately 1,100km.

Religion(s):

Lutheran 89%, Orthodox 1%.

Capital city:

Helsinki - population 560,000

Climate:

Winters are long with an average temperature between 0 degrees Centigrade and -15 degrees Centigrade. Average summer temperatures are between 16 degrees centigrade and 25 degrees centigrade.

Recent History:

Finland's recent history mirrors that of Ireland. In the space of one generation Finland has transformed itself. Once a desperately poor, primarily agricultural society - it is now one of the world's most advanced nations.

Facts on Finland
  • The Finns hold more Olympic medals per capita than any other nation
  • Finland was the first country in the world to elect women MPs.
  • 10% of Finland's land area is covered by water and 69% by forest.
  • Finland has 187,888 lakes and 179,584 islands. The surface area of Finland is growing by about 7 sq km a year due to uplift following the last ice age.
  • Finland is a market leader in IT and the mobile phone company Nokia is Finnish
  • Finland tops international league tables for education, literacy, honesty, and the sustainable use of natural resources, is in the top three for technological innovation, research and development, and internet use, and has the world's most competitive economy.
Famous Finns:
  • Finnish racing driver, Mika Hakkinen
  • The composer, Sibelius
  • Santa Claus
Tiina Suvanto
Tiina Suvanto, originally from Turku in Finland, now sells Finnish property to Irish investors.
Bob Kelly in Lapland
Bob Kelly in Lapland, Finland on his way to meet Tiina Suvanto's family.
Bob Kelly in Lapland
Bob Kelly encounters a relation of Rudolph in Lapland, Finland.
Bob Kelly meets Tiina's uncle
Bob Kelly meets Tiina Suvanto's uncle in Lapland's winter wonderland.